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A jury found Rodriguez guilty of the capital murder of Summer Baldwin and her fetus in the course of aggravated sexual assault in March 2008 and sentenced him to death. During appeal, the state conceded that the victim did not outwardly appear to be pregnant and that there was no evidence presented at Rodriguez's trial that he knew she was. In March 2011, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals threw out the multiple homicide theory of capital murder in his case, but affirmed his conviction and death sentence on the basis of the sexual assault theory. All of his subsequent appeals in state and federal court were denied.
Rodriguez began his last statement at his execution by saying it was an "honor and privilege" to know many prison guards and staff. He asked everyone to write to the prisoners on death row "as they are all good men and I am very happy I got to know them."
Next, Rodriguez's statement turned defiant. He reiterated some of the issues that the courts rejected in his late appeals, including illegal conduct by the Lubbock County medical examiner and district attorney, and called for the FBI to investigate them. He called upon Pope Francis and all of the people in the world to end the death penalty and "to boycott every single business in the state of Texas" until it is abolished.
Summer Baldwin's mother and Joanna Rogers's father were among the witnesses who watched Rodriguez's execution from a viewing room adjacent to the death chamber. The condemned man did not apologize to them or acknowledge them during his seven-minute statement.
"I've fought the good fight, I have run the good race," Rodriguez concluded, paraphrasing the apostle Paul in the New Testament. "Warden, I'm ready to join my father." The lethal injection was then started. He was pronounced dead at 6:46 p.m.
By David Carson. Posted on 28 March 2018. Writeup of the prisoner's last statement edited on 4/2/2018.
Sources: Texas Department of Criminal Justice, court documents, Associated Press.